Folic acid supplementation delays atherosclerotic lesion development. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Folic Acid Supplementation Delays Atherosclerotic Lesion Development by Modulating MCP1 and VEGF DNA Methylation Levels In Vivo and In Vitro.
Int J Mol Sci. 2017 May 5 ;18(5). Epub 2017 May 5. PMID: 28475147
The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis has been partly acknowledged to result from aberrant epigenetic mechanisms. Accordingly, low folate levels are considered to be a contributing factor to promoting vascular disease because of deregulation of DNA methylation. We hypothesized that increasing the levels of folic acid may act via an epigenetic gene silencing mechanism to ameliorate atherosclerosis. Here, we investigated the atheroprotective effects of folic acid and the resultant methylation status in high-fat diet-fed ApoE knockout mice and in oxidized low-density lipoprotein-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We analyzed atherosclerotic lesion histology, folate concentration, homocysteine concentration, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), and DNA methyltransferase activity, as well as monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and promoter methylation. Folic acid reduced atherosclerotic lesion size in ApoE knockout mice. The underlying folic acid protective mechanism appears to operate through regulating the normal homocysteine state, upregulating the SAM: SAH ratio, elevating DNA methyltransferase activity and expression, altering MCP1 and VEGF promoter methylation, and inhibiting MCP1 and VEGF expression. We conclude that folic acid supplementation effectively prevented atherosclerosis by modifying DNA methylation through the methionine cycle, improving DNA methyltransferase activity and expression, and thus changing the expression of atherosclerosis-related genes.